Monday, March 30, 2009

shaped by music?

There's a new application on Facebook called Living Social. It allows you to pick your top 5 choices in any given category; like favorite TV shows, best movies, top books, etc. One of the categories that intrigued me was, "5 albums that shaped me."

I thought back to my earlier days of listening to the 12", 33 1/3 rpm vinyl albums (oh, those were the days!). Don and I had quite the collection and I have very fond memories of the days when you had to take out the disc from it's sleeve, dust it off, set it on the turntable, and carefully place the needle to the vinyl. [mentioned for history sake] Boy, has music changed over the years.

I also found myself reflecting on the music itself. And then I thought about the name of this category in which I was supposed to pick only five albums; albums that shaped me. I don't think any albums really shaped who I am, or even who I was in those earlier years. I think I listened to the music I did (and still do) because of who I already was.

That brought my thought process to 'can music shape a person?' I thought back into my childhood to an even earlier time. I can remember some of the music my parents listened to, mostly when we took car trips. I remember listening to specific music at my grandparent's house. I remember the old hymns I grew up with. I even remember children's songs that I listened to when I was quite young.

I'm not sure I can say that music shaped me, but it most likely had an influence on my music preference in later years. If nothing else, it gave me an appreciation for music - for melody, for lyrics, for song.

So, when I picked out the 5 albums that shaped me, I really picked albums that meant a lot to me during that time. I ended up making two top 5 lists because I couldn't just pick 5. I could have picked even more than 10, but I stopped myself. Here are the 10 I picked.

Aqualung/Jethro Tull, Led Zepplin 4, The Wall/Pink Floyd, Tea for the Tillerman/Cat Stevens, Barbra Streisand (I listened to anything by her)

Breakfast in America/SuperTramp, Hotel California/Eagles, Thriller/Michael Jackson, The Best of Bread/Bread, Bridge Over Troubled Waters/Simon and Garfunkel

What would be your top 5 albums - not that shaped you, but held a special place in your collection, and in your heart?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

art and snow

The kids and I spent Wednesday afternoon at the Denver Museum of Art. Jake had an assignment to pick out a piece of art and draw his own recreation of it. We walked through several floors of varying exhibits - everything from fine art, to art from different countries, to unique and unusual contemporary art, before he found a piece he wanted to draw.

He found an oil painting amongst the western art displays, pulled up a chair, and spent the next hour drawing what he saw before him. I was impressed since he is not an art student and he did his best while onlookers peeked over his shoulder expecting to see some impressing recreation. Jake's not an artist but he did a great job.

These two pictures were from one of those unusual displays. It was a walkway where there were tables set with dishes and food - all painted in red. And amid the tables, there were foxes playfully posing. It was fascinating to me and pleasing to my eye. You know what they say; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon with my children and experiencing all the art.

On another note... we had a blizzard today! (which was yesterday by the time you read this.)

We knew we would be getting a big storm going through, but because of the winds, they upgraded it to a blizzard. They predicted 8-12 inches for the Denver area. Areas to the north and west received at least 12" but as I type this, about 11:00 at night, we only got about 6". It is still snowing but so lightly that I don't think we'll get more than another inch as it's supposed to snow off and on through the night.

Most of the schools were canceled today, and tomorrow as well. It was nice not having to go anywhere and catch up on things around the house while the snow came down outside. Yep, a nice day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sunday @ the zoo

I'm not sure what the weather looks like across the country, but we had an absolutely beautiful weekend. It was mid 70s on Saturday and up to 79 degrees on Sunday. We're still in March, people! But as if we needed to be reminded, we're in for a colder week with a forecast of snow. Shorts one day, coat and gloves the next. Welcome to Colorado!

To enjoy the weekend, the weather, and the fact that Dani and Jake are on spring break, we decided to go to the zoo Sunday. It had been a long time since our last visit and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Of course, I had camera in hand the whole time and got a few good pics. With the sun so bright, the deep shadows ruined many great photo ops, but I was able to get a few decent ones. You may view all the decent ones here on my Flickr.

Friday, March 20, 2009

friday fragments

I usually do Aloha Friday on Fridays, but my bloggy friend, Mighty Mom has been doing Friday Fragments each Friday, and I love the idea of capturing your week in small fragments. So here's mine.

+ My week started with having breakfast with a few friends at Le Peep. Enjoyed the food. Enjoyed the company even more.

+ Don got off work a little early one day. We went to a local coffee shop and sat outside as it was a beautiful day with warm weather. We worked on material for the marriage sermon series we're helping our pastor with and it ended up being a wonderful time of sharing with each other. I left being reminded of why I love this man so much.

+ We refinanced our house this week.

+ One night I watched four hours of 24 to catch up. I still have this last week's episode to watch.

+ I enjoyed my trip down memory lane as I went through scads of old photos. I am so thankful for now having digital photography.

+ I loaded, and am now using, Firefox (browser) because my son told me about a cool application called Cool Iris. And it IS super cool. If you use Firefox, you might want to check it out.

+ I also stumbled across another social/blogging site, called Tumblr. The more I looked around, the more I was intrigued and ended up signing up. It's somewhat like Twitter but you can add photos, videos, and more. Who knows how long I'll stick with it.

+ I cooked dinner more times this week than I have in a long time. It's the start of a getting back into the habit.

+ Yesterday was such a nice day that after school (my job), I took a blanket out to the backyard with a book and my iced latte and read as the sun warmed my skin and my attitude. The dog loved the company.

+ Jake and Danielle came home last night and will be home for all of next week. Spring break!

Friday Fragments is hosted by Mrs4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time

Thursday, March 19, 2009

old pictures - none

I just got done scanning pictures from my homecomings and proms with hopes of posting them here today, but I'm noticing these white lines coming through on the scanned photos. I rescan them, but the lines are still there. My conclusion.... I bought a cheap, crappy scanner.

So I'm bummed. I was enjoying going through my photos and deciding which ones I would post. Although, the ones from the dances during my high school years are quite hideous and I don't know why I would want to put them out here in bloggyland for public scrutiny. Hideous, I tell you.

But maybe you'll still get a chance to see them. I'm thinking of going out in the next couple of days and buying a good, flatbed scanner. Does anyone know a good one? And while I'm asking questions, can I ask if anyone does digital scrapbooking? If you do, please let me know. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions.

Hopefully, more pictures to come.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

old pictures - me, and family

Let's go back even further in my lifetime...
This is a picture of my family, most likely taken at the end of 1962 or beginning of 1963. That's my little (hehehe - he's taller than me now) brother my mom is holding, me in the middle, and my sister sitting on my dad's lap. I'm pretty sure we were living in Florida when this picture was taken. Sorry I can't write more. I don't really remember that time of my life =)

Here I am with my sister and dad. I remember this picture was taken while living in California but visiting my dad in Colorado, but I don't remember what that year was. [Dad, if you're reading this today, maybe you could help me out with that date.] I'm thinking it was Christmas 1975. I would have been a junior in high school. If I held my head up straight, you'd be able to see that I'm actually taller than my sister. And this is the girl (me) that this guy fell in love with.

Monday, March 16, 2009

old pictures - dogs

I bought myself a little handheld scanner a few weeks ago. It's not the best scanner but it's nice that it's so small and easy to use. So I've been going through some of my old pictures and thought I dedicate this week to old pictures that I find to be noteworthy.

I really started last Friday when I posted a picture of my first car. Today I have two pictures that show our first two dogs.

Here is Don with our very first dog, named Shasta. We were in high school when we picked her out of a litter of abandoned puppies. The other puppies ended up looking more like retrievers, but Shasta looked more like a shepherd. She went to live with Don and his family and I had to give her my love and attention when I spent time at their home (which was nearly every day). By the way, this is what Don looked like in high school. This is the boy I fell in love with =) The picture was probably taken in 1977, the year we graduated.

Shortly after we got married and moved into a rented house, we bought Kirby. He was our first golden retriever (our current dog is our third golden) and our parents considered him their granddog since we weren't having grandchildren fast enough for them. He was a good dog and we did a lot of camping with him. I figured this picture was taken somewhere around '83 or '84.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

i went to church today....

... but not where I usually go.

No, my car didn't turn into the middle school's parking lot like it has for the past two and a half years. Instead, it drove another block down the road and turned into the high school parking lot. For that is where Harvest Community, my church home, now meets.

It has been an amazing journey watching our little start-up church grow. It was started in the summer of 2005 by the discipleship pastor from our previous church. He felt God's calling to start a church in southeast Aurora and he was obedient to that calling.

It started with just a handful of people. They first met in a local library on Thursday nights. They went through the book of Acts more as a Bible study than a worship service. By the October, they had secured a meeting room in another church for a Saturday night service. It was still a very small group of people. Don and I visited the church a few times in each location but continued to church shop and frequent our home church. We knew we wanted something different. We just didn't know where God wanted us.

A month or so before Easter, in 2006, the pastor felt God telling him he needed to move his church to another location - a specific location, and by Easter. It was a mad dash, but the middle school was secured and all the logistics were worked out by Easter Sunday. I wasn't there, but I've been told it was a real celebration.

When the pastor started the church, he asked Don and I to come aboard as the youth directors. We visited but didn't feel that's what God wanted for us at the time. Thus, we had to tell the pastor that and kept looking. A month or two after the church had been meeting in the school, we received a call from the children's ministry pastor. He gave us an update on the church, told us they were starting to get kids who were in jr. and sr. high, and asked if we'd consider joining the church and ministering the the youth.

It was the right time. We knew this from what was going on in our lives and in our hearts at that time. We didn't audibly hear God's voice, but we knew this was from Him and this is where He wanted us. Our first Sunday with the youth group was Father's Day.

We enjoyed every minute being the youth directors for this small church, but that doesn't mean there weren't times of concern for the size of the group and the size of the church. Seems like every time we gained a family, we'd lose another, if not two. There was even a time when we were all concerned that the church wouldn't make it. But God is faithful, and slowly the church has grown.

So much so, that it became apparent that we were outgrowing our little cafeteria used for the service, and the hallways used for the children's and youth ministries. I will have to write another post on how the high school became an option for us. It is truly a story of faithfulness on everyone's part.

But today we celebrated the fact that God has brought more of his children to our church and provided a larger place for us to worship and enjoy fellowship with each other. Thank you dear Lord. May you continue to bless us as we continue to praise you and seek your will.

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." ~Deuteronomy 7:9

Friday, March 13, 2009

sweet ride


What was your first car?

My first car was a red 1971 Chevy Nova. I bought it in 1976 after I saw it in an apartment's parking stall with a 'FOR SALE' in the window. I had just got my driver's license and I was in the market to buy a car... but I didn't have much money. The price tag on this beauty was $500.

All the details are a little vague (hey, it was over 30 years ago!) but I had a job and I had money saved. My mom may have helped me with the promise that I would repay anything I borrowed, but in the end, I came up with the whopping amount of $500. I bought it and felt the thrill of owning my own car.

But, you get what you pay for and the car kept breaking down. After only a few months, it was decided that it was unfixable or that it would cost too much to fix. I said good bye to my beloved Nova and hello to a brand new mustard colored Datsun B210, which my mom co-signed for. I liked having a new car but I didn't like having monthly car payments. Some where I heard a little voice say, "Welcome to reality and the world of responsibility."

Aloha Friday can be found over at An Island Life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

here kitty, kitty, kitty

When we were in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, one of the attractions we visited (more than once) was the lion exhibit at the MGM Grand. To the side of their casino, there's a huge enclosed glass area where they have lions. They even have a walk through glass tunnel that runs through the middle of the exhibit, giving you an even better view of the big cats. If you're lucky, one of the lions is laying on top of the tunnel and you have the opportunity to be even closer to one of these magnificent creatures.

When we took our kids to Las Vegas back in 2003, we visited the same attraction and walked away a little disappointed after watching the lions do nothing but sleep the whole half hour we were there. Things were different this time.

When we arrived, there were two large male lions sitting regally on the glass tunnel. One of them had a chewed up ball between his paws but wasn't doing anything with it. We also noticed that there were three men in the glass enclosure with the lions. We were curious as to what they were doing there. About that time a voice boomed through the speakers giving us tidbits of information about the lions and their trainers. The three men were trainers.

We were informed that there is a lion sanctuary about 20 miles outside Las Vegas, and that is where the lions actually live. They bring in 2-3 lions at a time, rotating them every 6-8 hours. Their trainers live on the campus and work with them on a daily basis. And lions sleep up to 20 hours a day. Which explains why that's all we saw back in 2003 and the subsequent visits Don and I made on this last trip.

That's why this first viewing was so special. These lions were not only awake, but they were playful - like little kittens. It started when the lion with the ball dropped the ball. The trainer picked it up and actually teased the giant cat with it. After he teased the cat with it, he set it on top of another toy on top of a rock next to where the lion was sitting. You could tell the cat wanted to play. It didn't take too long before he pounced on it, sending it flying across the enclosed area. He followed it, grabbed it, dropping it, pouncing on it... repeat... repeat.

The same trainer would actually grab the ball or kick the ball and that lion, and then the other one, played along, much to the delight of the onlookers. It was such a treat to watch these two massive cats play and interact with the trainer like they were domestic kitty cats. Some of their behavior even reminded me of how a dog would play.

The only down side of the time we spent watching was that picture taking was nearly impossible because of the thick glass separating my camera and the lions, thus, the poor quality of these photos. These were the best of the batch. But I don't need the pictures to remember such an awesome experience.

This last picture hasn't been cropped in any way. I used my zoom but I was also very close to this very playful cat.

Monday, March 9, 2009

happy birthday Barbie

The ever popular Barbie doll turned 50 today. She was introduced at a toy fair on March 9, 1959 as a teenage model by Mattel. The picture here is what the Barbie of 1959 looked like. Since then, Barbie has changed her look to fit the times. She has taken on countless roles that vary anywhere from an astronaut and doctor to a ballet dancer and lifeguard. She has been the subject of many controversies and lawsuits over the years, but has withstood them all and has remained a beloved childhood doll to most young girls.

I was one of those girls. I loved playing with Barbie, Ken, and all their friends for many years during my childhood. I had cases that doubled as housing structures. I had furniture and accessories. And clothes... boy, did I have quite the assortment of clothes. I never tired of creating my Barbie world, complete with complex relationships, ever-changing scenarios, and of course, constant wardrobe changes; role playing at it's finest.

Sadly, my sister and I gave away our Barbies once we felt like we outgrew them, not even imagining that they might one day become collector's items. I wish I had held on to a couple of them for the sake of nostalgia. I've heard that some stores are selling a replica of the original Barbie at the original selling price - $3.00. I may have to pick one up... for nostalgia's sake.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the end of a lovely weekend


Outside my window... it's 6:30 and it's still light. Gotta love daylight savings.

I am thinking... what a nice weekend it was. Both kids were home and I enjoyed every moment. My favorite part of the weekend was the card game Saturday night. Oh boy, did we laugh!

I am thankful for... that my kids go to good colleges that happen to be only an hour away (one to the north, one to the south). I am thankful that they want to come home.

From the kitchen... a canister full of chocolate chip cookies that Jake and Hollee made during the card game and some dirty dishes from their lunch (why can't kids learn to clean their dishes and put them in the dishwasher?)

I am creating... nothing. I actually spent a good chunk of the weekend creating a new look for Danielle's blog. You can see it here. She says she'll write more now that it looks purty.

I am going... to start going to the gym... starting this week... yes I am!

I am wearing... jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt.

I am reading... Peace Like a River, and it feels like I've been reading this book forever. It's a good story but it's not a page turner. I just need to get through it so I can start on one of the other many books I've been wanting to read.

I am hoping... the weather this week goes back to those mild temps we enjoyed last week.

I am hearing... the TV - we're about to watch the Amazing Race.

Around the house... a bunch of snowmen that I need to put away. I am ready for Spring.

One of my favorite things... twilight. You know, that time of day when the sun has set but it's still light outside, but it's a diffused, soft light. It's always been my favorite time of the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week... my days are mostly free because I'm off of work due to standardized testing at the schools, but I have a few meetings in the evenings. Oh yah, and going to the gym =)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... while in Las Vegas, we visited a chocolate factory. They had a few cute little anecdotes gracing their walls. This one was my favorite.

The Simple Woman's Daybook originated at The Simple Woman.

Friday, March 6, 2009

extrovert or introvert?


Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

The simplest way to define these two characteristics is that an extrovert is energized by spending time with people, usually a group of people, and an introvert is energized by spending time alone or in a one on one situation.

I would have to say that I'm an introvert. There are times I enjoy being with a group of people, but I don't find it energizing. In fact, I find it draining. I'd rather spend a quiet night at home.

But I am a relational person. I enjoy the relationships I have and I enjoy making new ones. You would think a youth worker would be more of an extrovert, and most probably are. I will admit, even though I could handle a large group, I was more comfortable with a smaller one. What I thrived on was the relationships I made with each kid. So even though doing youth ministry meant working with a group of highly energetic teenagers, I focused on one or two kids at a time. And that energized me.

Thank you to Kailani of An Island Life for hosting Aloha Friday each week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A doodle is a type of sketch, an unfocused drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. They are simple drawings which can have a meaning, a shape or just irregular forms. (source: wikipedia)

Hi, my name is Diana, and I'm a doodler. (Now in unison; hi Diana) Just take a look at my sermon notes each week, or the folder I was given at Jake's parent orientation, or my prayer journal from my Moms In Touch group. Yes, I doodle. I think there's two reasons I doodle; I am an artistic person (with schooling in graphic arts) and I'm bored. I know it's not always a matter of being bored, but sometimes it is. Some times it's the white space on a page that beckons me to fill it.

I came across a post stating there's a new study that says doodlers tend to concentrate better, learn more easily, have better memory, and are less stressed. It goes on to say that what you doodle can signify any number of deeper, psychological issues. For example, if your scribbling are thick and heavy- could mean you're having a rough day. Light and airy- maybe your day is light and airy as well. here's what some say all those lines and scribblings may mean:

Arrows: ambitious;strong personal drive
Boxes: stacked boxes- methodical; closed boxes - self-centered; open boxes- open mind.
Cats: complex; playful or aggressive?; look at the drawing itself.
Circles: self-protective
Curly-ques: very imaginative, good natured.
Dots: can mean life is not very well connected.
Eyes: you think you're good looking.... or everyone is watching you.
Faces: either you are a people person... or outgoing yet very private.
Flowers: you romantic, you.
Guns: scary
Houses: how you feel about life at home; an open front door- welcoming; closed- private; if things are weirdly drawn or there are no doors or windows- that's an unhappy home.
Intricate Patterns: meaning detailed to the max; can mean obsessive/compulsive; introverted; detail-oriented.
Name: could use a little boost in self-confidence.
Question Marks: just what you might think.
Robots: you are bored with your life and your routine.
Spider webs: complicated and high maintenance.
Stars: once again, a romantic; and a dreamer.
Trees: a tree without leaves- isolated and alone; full- so is your life.
Zigzags: life is tough right now.

How about you... are you a doodler?

Monday, March 2, 2009

life as a sponge

Let's think about a sponge...

As a sponge is immersed in water, it soaks up the liquid. It becomes soft and pliable and easy to use. Once you take the sponge out of the water, it starts to dry out and become hard. In fact, the longer it remains out of the water, the harder it becomes. Dry, hard, eventually becoming brittle - definitely unusable for anything a sponge is designed to be used for. And the harder the sponge, the longer it takes to absorb the liquid once it is re-immersed.

Now let's think of ourselves as sponges...

... and the liquid represents the presence of God in our lives. As a sponge needs to be immersed in the water to become usable and effective, we, too, need to be immersed in a relationship with God on a regular (daily!) basis. This keeps us full of His love and filled with His spirit. It keeps us pliable and usable.

And as with the sponge, if we remain out of His presence for any great length of time, we become hard and brittle - and unusable. The longer we stay out, the longer it may take for the absorbency level to reach full potential again.

The moral to my little analogy is; remain in Him, and He will remain in you. You can only be used by Him and for His glory if you know Him, "absorb" Him, and remain in Him.

And let me leave you with one more thought...

If we are sponges,
we will naturally absorb anything we are immersed in.